The Sequim Police Department’s K-9 program has a bullet-resistant vest and a bite training suit valued at $2,000 thanks to the Sunrise Rotary Club and an anonymous donor.
“These are valuable pieces of equipment necessary for the training and application of our K-9 unit,” said Sequim K-9 Officer Mike Hill.
“They assist Chase in his training and will help him stay safe while he’s at work.
“Because of the support and generosity of the citizens, organizations and businesses of Sequim, our K-9 program has been able to prosper since its inception in 2000,” he said.
The vest for K-9 Officer Chase was bought with donations from the Sequim Sunrise Rotary.
The bite suit was donated anonymously. It is used to protect officers while Chase practices attacking suspects.
Chase is the Sequim Police Department’s third police dog but first patrol dog. The department’s first two dogs, Huey and Titus, were trained to sniff for drugs, as Chase will be later.
The Sequim Police Department decided in 2007 to switch from a narcotics dog to a patrol dog because of an increase in assaults, felonies and physical altercations between officers and suspects.
In 2008, Chase caught suspects wanted for murder, armed robbery and residential burglary.
Two of them carried firearms and one had an improvised explosive device.
Chase was born Aug. 2, 2005, in the Netherlands. He was bought with donations to the Police Department K-9 program. Hill selected him from about 50 dogs at a kennel in North Carolina.
Chase and Hill graduated from the Police K-9 Academy in July 2008 following four months of training.
The two went through 450 hours of instruction and practice that included tracking, trailing, evidence recovery, suspect apprehension, master protection, finding evidence and searching areas and buildings, Hill said.
The training included pursuing suspects through water and having Chase jump onto a rooftop from Hill’s shoulders,
The pair now is certified through the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission as well as accredited by the Washington State Police Canine Association.
All the hard work and training is beginning to pay off for Locust Grove police officer Nate Cooper and his K-9 partner, Brit. A former Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer, Brit was given to the town and matched with Cooper.
Together they have trained to become partners. Since Brit joined the Locust Grove police department he has been instrumental in finding drugs during traffic stops. He has discovered many types of illegal drugs and more recently guns.
“He’s doing a good job,” said Cooper.
On Friday, July 17, Cooper and his partner were involved in a routine traffic stop of a semi truck at 9:30 p.m.. During the stop, Dispatch told Cooper the driver of truck, Romell Keith Esters, 43, of Augusta, Ga., had two felony warrants in the state of Georgia. One warrant was for felony burglary while the other was for felony fraud.
Cooper said he got the driver out of the vehicle to talk about the warrants and asked him to put his hands behind his back.
“He started to comply and boom he just took off,” Cooper said.
Another officer, Wade Henderson, began a foot chase while Cooper told the man to stop, he had a K-9 officer.
“Brit gave chase and ran into a creek bed,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the dog hit the man with his body knocking him to the ground so that the other officers could make the arrest. Esters was taken to Mayes County Medical Center for an abrasions on his knees and right calf. After being released from MCMC, Esters was transported to the Mayes County Jail where he is awaiting extradition to Georgia.
“All the hard work and long hours have paid off,” Cooper said.
A bike run Saturday will benefit the unit.
He has everything the well-dressed cop needs, such as a badge and a bulletproof vest.
He’s kinda cute, too, with his big brown eyes — and that tail that wags furiously when he enthusiastically chomps down on the arm of a fellow officer who, fortunately, is wearing a bite sleeve.
That training is fun stuff for him. It’s like a game. But Achill, a nearly 5-year-old, four-legged member of the New Castle Police Department’s Canine Corps, is a serious tool for the two-legged members of the department. They use him and two other shepherd dogs, Vader and Bronco, to sniff out narcotics, bombs, suspects and missing people.
The department is hoping, said New Castle Police Chief Tom Sansone, to be able to keep the dogs in light of the city’s financial situation — it’s distressed under Pa. Act 47, and the state is controlling the purse strings.
Some people in the community agree that the dogs would be a real loss for the city. A bike run, called Paws for Peace, will take place Saturday to benefit the unit.
NewCastle hadn’t had a canine team since the 1970s, said Sansone. But the city revived the unit, starting with a dog named Chuck, in 2003.
Chuck, now retired, lives with his former handler, Sgt. John Colella.
Achill lives with Colella, too. While Chuck, 12, enjoys his golden years, Achill and Colella go to work patrolling in the city.
The dogs are, said Colella, a valuable asset when it comes to police work.
“On the street, people don’t run,” he said. “Bringing a dog out, you can settle a situation down. They fear the dog more than the manpower.”
Achill has some feathers in his collar when it comes to good work for the department.
Once, Sansone said, he sniffed out $150,000 in drug money under a trap door in a house that had already been searched by police. Traces of drugs were on the money, and no human nose would have picked up that scent.
Seized drug money, Sansone pointed out, benefits the prosecutor’s office and the police department.
Colella remembered a domestic situation in Taylor Township only a few weeks into Achill’s service for the department.
“The guy had run into the woods,” Colella said. “He wasn’t moving. The dog found him right away.”
The dogs are good for public relations, too, Sansone said. They visit with school and youth groups.
Bronco’s appearance at the city’s recent Fireworks Festival was a success. “The kids were all grabbing him and pulling his hair,” said Sansone, though Colella said the dogs aren’t as patient and as accepting of the attention as a pet dog would be. He said he can tell that after so long, Achill would rather be done with the socializing.
Vader was actually hurt several weeks ago during a demonstration before a church youth group — seizing up and dropping straight to the ground in pain while going for the bite sleeve.
He’ll be out of service for a while, recovering from a sprained neck.
Sansone said the dogs are not expensive to keep once they are acquired and trained for $6,000 to $8,000 apiece. The K-9 cruisers can be expensive to maintain, he said, because they have to run constantly while the dogs are in them.
Wal-Mart donates dog food, and a local veterinarian donates his services — though the department will get a bill for the sprained neck from Ohio State University’s hospital at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Sansone said, though, that he had to convince the state that the unit was not an unnecessary expense for the city.
Contributions such as those gathered through the bike run, he said, are important because the state is not as likely to want to disband the unit if donations help support it.
The bike run will begin with registrations at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 110 E. Lincoln Ave.
Starting at 11 a.m., it will wind its way through four counties before ending up at Cascade Park for a lunch and a meet-and-greet with the dogs — at least Bronco and Achill. Vader might still be recovering, said Sansone.
Registration costs $20 for one rider and $30 for two riders.
Registration is also available at http://www.newcastlepawsforpeace.bravehost.com, or call (724) 714-2776.
Thanks to recent fund-raising efforts, a K-9 officer with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office has been chosen as the first recipient of a bulletproof vest.
Jamilla Hudson first announced the project in February after reading a story called “Protecting K-9 Cops” in The American Profile, an insert in The Star-News. It told the story of New Mexico resident Susie Jean and her non-profit organization Vest ‘n P.D.P. (Police Dog Protection). Since 2002, the organization has outfitted more than 260 vests for police dogs across the nation.
In February, Hudson said she hoped to increase that number by six in the coming months.
Thanks to various donations from private citizens and civic groups throughout the county, Hudson has raised $988 and can now reduce the number of needed vests to five.
“I sent the money to Susie Jean and she called me and told me that we had enough money to go ahead and get one vest,” Hudson said. “I told her I wanted to get all the vests at one time, but she said it would be best to go ahead and get the one vest so that at least one dog could be protected.”
Hudson said it was a hard decision to make, but ultimately she decided it would go to Kas, the K-9 partner of Sheriff’s Deputy Nic Ireland. The $700 vest will take approximately six to eight weeks to arrive and is expected to be here at the end of August.
Currently, Hudson is in the process of securing more funds so that the other K-9 officers in the county can have vests.
“There are other dogs in the county that need the vests,” she said. “I made a promise to those officers and I intend to keep it.”
Sizeable donations were given by the Shriner’s Club, the Andalusia Area Humane Society, Barbara Nelson of Second Home Boarding Kennel in Babbie and Kenneth and Gina Ireland, as well as other private donations.
To help raise more funds, donation cans are featured at a variety of local businesses, and a raffle will be held Aug. 7. The prize will feature a spay or neuter from Boothe Veterinary Clinic and a wide variety of pet-related items from businesses in Opp and Andalusia. Tickets are $1 each. Additionally, Gitty-Up-N-Go owner Roy Mohon has pledged to match the raffle’s proceeds, Hudson said.
Donations are tax-deductible and checks can be made payable to “vestnpdp” (with Andalusia, Opp, Covington County on memo line) and mailed to Jamilla Hudson, 18600 Grace Lane, Opp, AL 36467.
A New Mexico State Police helicopter pilot who died in a crash after picking up a stranded hiker in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in June was awarded the department’s Medal of Valor on Tuesday.
Sergeant Andy Tingwall was recognized for jumping into an arroyo last August to save a drowning man. His widow, Leighann Tingwall, and his daughter accepted the award.
Leighann Tingwall said that Sergeant Tingwall would have been uncomfortable with the ceremony because he didn’t like recognition. She said, however, she was glad for the award because “he was a hero.”
Two other state policemen were also awarded the Medal of Valor: Officer Craig Vandiver and Officer James Rempe.
Tingwall and Officer Wesley Cox rescued University of New Mexico graduate student Megumi Yamamoto, who had become stranded near Santa Fe Baldy.
As the helicopter attempted to lift off, though, it became engulfed in clouds. The tail rudder apparently struck a tree or the ground and the chopper went down, rolling over 800 feet down a steep ravine.
Yamamoto and Tingwall were killed. Cox managed to walk out of the wreck area, despite a broken leg, and was spotted by rescuers.
Leighann Tingwall spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday.
“I’m very proud, and I know Andy is looking down at her and he’s proud also,” she said.
Leighann Tingwall was working as a dispatcher the night her husband was killed. She was last to speak with him before the helicopter he piloted went down.
Leighann Tingwall says she plans to stay working for state police. It is possible Tingwall could be recommended for the same honor next year for his effort during last month’s deadly rescue operation.
The Florida Highway Patrol now has 43 new state troopers to join its ranks as the 117th Basic Recruit Class graduated from the FHP’s Law Enforcement Training Academy today at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.
The graduation ceremony marks the conclusion of an intensive 27-week training period that prepares them for a career as a Florida State Trooper and instills the FHP’s core values of service, courtesy and protection.
Florida’s newest state troopers from the 117th class will report for duty by July 31, 2009.
• William Breen, of Fort Myers, who will patrol Lee County
• Jason Moore, of Naples, who will patrol Alligator Alley
• Andrew Nowling, of Moore Haven, who will patrol Glades County
• Eric Oleson, of East Naples, who will patrol Alligator Alley.
The Florida Highway Patrol continues its recruitment efforts for the 118th Recruit Class scheduled to begin on Aug. 9. For additional information, go to flhsmv.gov/fhp or contact FHP’s Recruitment Office at 850-617-2307.